Thanks and giving means really living

11/18/2008

By Rev. Glenn Martin
Advocate Columnist

Last night we sat at a dining table in a local fish house with a couple of friends awaiting our order of catfish, hush puppies and two sides. We just sat there while someone else did everything for us. I did not see anyone else there give thanks for their food.

My, how things have changed! In all my growing up years and beyond, if we ate fish, we must first dig the bait, catch and dress (or undress) the fish and fry it. One more thing before we could eat: Daddy had to thank God for the food on the table and ask His forgiveness for our sin. We ate heartily together and hardly ever ate between meals.

Is it possible that the easier it comes, the less we appreciate it? Is it possible to have an era of affluence in which we forget the mystery and wonder of a fertile soil which can take one small grain of corn and give us back 2,000. I drove more than 100 miles yesterday where tens of thousands of acres of corn, cotton, soybeans and rice have recently been harvested in the Mississippi Delta.

My home county of Walthall was once known as the cream pitcher of Mississippi due to so many dairies there. How do black cows eat green grass and give white milk? Another of God’s amazing creation products that match the needs of we humans.

The Bible tells us that God feeds the birds and values us more than them. Truth is God provides for all our needs now and forever, which means we are totally and completely and altogether absolutely dependent on God.

Our next breath is a gift from God through a special oxygen producing process. We are able even in our sleep to reach out and take into our wonderful lungs the very essential element of oxygen, transfer it into our blood and thus give us life. Every part of our body is of God’s design and especially for our use. Medical specialists study but never discover all of the intelligence of the design of the eye, the ear, the heart and all the rest of our amazing anatomy.

Every day is another gift of God who lets us live on the surface of His good earth with a billion stars voyaging in isolation above us. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they who dwell therein.” (Ps.24:1) “You are not your own; you are bought with a price.” (1st Cor. 6:20)

Add to all of this, “The Word was made flesh to dwell among us, full of grace and truth, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” (John 1:14) “All who received him, who believed in His name, he gave power to become the children of God.” (John 1:12)

Follow Him to the garden of Gethsemane, to the abusive trial and condemnation, carry his cross to a place called Calvary and watch for three hours. Hear him say, “Father, forgive them,” and know that you are one of those who “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

The vast harvest from this good land is but a reminder of God’s forever provision for our souls. Thanks and giving are basic to really living. The season never ends.

Martin is a retired elder in the Mississippi Conference who lives in Grenada. He is a regular contributor to the “Advocate.”